Follow the Golden Rule: An Interview with Gary Chadwick

by Maeve Luthin, Professional Development Manager

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews where we introduce you to our members—individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Over the course of the next few months we will be shining a spotlight on members of the Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) and Certified Professional IACUC Administration (CPIA®) Councils.  Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Chadwick, PharmD, MPH, CIP,  Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at the University of Rochester in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Maeve Luthin (ML): When and why did you join the field?
Gary Chadwick (GC): My first contact with IRBs was in 1986 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in DC when, as director of quality assurance, I was asked about off-label use in research by the IRB chair. Later, after a short diversion working in the Office of the Surgeon General under C. Everett Koop, MD, I joined the Office for Protection from the Research Risk (OPRR, which is now known as the Office for Human Research Protections). Regarding why I joined the field, research ethics and the work that IRBs do are important and challenging. I enjoy being involved with this exciting field, especially now with the potential regulatory for change and the quest for new answers as technology expands.
ML: You played an instrumental role in the development of the Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) credential. What prompted you to establish the CIP® Council?
GC: In the 1990s, two issues were deemed critical to the advancement of IRBs by PRIM&R’s former membership arm, the Applied Research Ethics National Association (ARENA): accreditation and certification. When I was ARENA President  in 1999, I called a working group together to explore ways to develop a certification program for IRB staff. With the assistance of the president of the Professional Testing Corporation (the company who administers the exam), we formed the CIP Council, wrote test items, and put together the first exam, which was administered in 2000. Since that time, the CIP credential has become vital to IRB managers and staff, and is a successful and vibrant program within PRIM&R.
ML: How did you become involved with PRIM&R?
GC: I first learned about PRIM&R shortly after joining OPRR. The director of OPRR, Charles (“Charlie”) McCarthy, PhD, asked me to join him as an observer at PRIM&R’s annual meeting in 1990. Ever since then, I have been convinced that PRIM&R’s annual meeting is the premier educational event for IRBs and everyone involved in the research enterprise. In fact, after returning from that meeting I successfully lobbied Dr. McCarthy to send everyone from the office so that they could participate and learn. With the exception of the occasional sequester, OHRP continues to fully support the PRIM&R annual meeting by sending everyone from the office.
ML: What skills are particularly helpful in a job like yours?
GC: Working as an HRPP/IRB manager has well-equipped me  for my current role as a consultant. Confidence (from knowing the regulations), respect, and willingness to see the other side of an issue are important skills that can be honed in an IRB setting. I have been on hundreds of site visits, and I have seen that while the goal remains the same—protection of research subjects—there are often different ways to accomplish that end (admittedly, some better than others).
ML: What advice have you found most helpful in your career?
GC: Follow the golden rule (not the one about having gold and ruling). Interact with others in the same manner as you would like them to interact with you and always expect the best from others.
ML: What is your proudest achievement?
GC: Setting up the CIP program—no question!
ML: Is there anyone, living or dead, who has inspired you in your career and/or in life?
GC: There are many—my mother and father, children of the Great Depression, passed on to me their work ethic and joy in helping others. Dr. McCarthy modeled for me a common sense approach to the application of the regulations and demonstrated the importance of honoring the ethical principles. I am also inspired by the many IRB and research professionals with whom I’ve worked over the years—many of whom are PRIM&R volunteers. They have inspired me with their dedication and optimism. I have been particularly impressed with my fellow CIP Council members—I salute them.
Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Gary. We are so thankful for all of your contributions to PRIM&R and to the field.